The 4 Most Common Prenatal Infections

The 4 Most Common Prenatal Infections

The month of February is International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month — a worldwide observance promoting awareness of common infections transmitted from mother to baby. Prenatal infections include bacterial or viral illnesses that can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or the delivery process.

We’re here to educate you about prenatal infections! Most prenatal infections can be prevented with healthy pregnancy habits — such as practicing good hygiene, receiving prenatal care and immunizations, proper nutrition, and taking environmental precautions to avoid dangerous infections.

Before becoming pregnant, it's essential to ensure that you're up-to-date on all vaccines and test disease immunity. If necessary, schedule an appointment with the best Gwinnett OBGYN. While pregnant, it is recommended to get routine prenatal screening to evaluate maternal immunity. Increase an early diagnosis and treatment of prenatal infections with your favorite gynecologist near me.


The 4 most common prenatal infections include:

  1. Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Pregnant women infected with CMV can pass along the virus to their babies during pregnancy. About 1 out of every 200 babies are born with the CMV infection. However, only about 1 in 5 babies with CMV infection can get sick from the virus or have long-term health problems.

CMV is passed through body fluids — such as saliva, urine, blood, vaginal secretions, and semen. Moreover, babies and young children are more likely to shed CMV in their saliva and urine than older children and adults. Therefore, women can lessen their risk of getting CMV by reducing contact with saliva and urine from babies and young children.

Some ways to do this include not sharing food and utensils with babies and young children, as well as washing your hands after changing any diapers. These precautions cannot eliminate your risk of getting CMV but can lessen your chances of getting it.

  1. Group B Strep (GBS)

In the United States, about 1 in 4 pregnant women have bacteria that causes GBS disease. Babies can get very ill and even die if their mothers pass GBS bacteria to them during childbirth.

The GBS test is simple and does not hurt! If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor or about getting a GBS test. If you test positive, you’ll get an antibiotic during labor to prevent GBS from spreading to your baby. Most babies born to women who tested positive for GBS bacteria wouldn't need treatment if their mother received antibiotics during labor. Alternatively, it is also important to understand your OBGYN's guide to healthy pre-labor.

  1. Listeriosis

Listeriosis is a rare — but serious infection — caused by eating food contaminated with a bacteria called Listeria. A pregnant woman is 10 times more likely than other people to get listeriosis. In fact, about 1 in 6 cases of listeriosis are associated with pregnancy. Listeriosis mostly affects pregnant women, older adults, newborns, and those with weakened immune systems.

Pregnant women typically only experience fever and other flu-like symptoms — such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn. Your gynecologist near me should be contacted if you have any flu-like symptoms.

Protect yourself from listeriosis by following the guidelines below:

  • Avoid raw (meaning unpasteurized) milk and products made from it, such as cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. Look for the word "pasteurized" on labels. If in doubt, don’t buy it!
  • Be aware that some Hispanic-style cheeses that were made from pasteurized milk — but were contaminated when the cheese was being made — have caused Listeria infections. Hispanic-style soft cheeses include queso blanco, queso fresco, queso blando, queso Cotija, queso panela, queso ranchero, cuajada en terrón, among others.
  • Don’t eat raw or lightly cooked sprouts (including alfalfa, clover, mung bean sprouts, and radish).
  • Eat any cut melon right away — or refrigerate it at 40° F or colder for no more than 7 days. And throw away your cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.
  • Avoid eating lunch meats, hot dogs, cold cuts, other deli meats (such as bologna), or fermented or dry sausages unless they’re heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or steaming hot just before serving. Don't let juice from lunch meat and hot dog packages get on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces. Also, wash hands after handling hot dogs, lunch meats, and deli meats.
  • Don’t eat refrigerated pâté or meat spreads from a deli or meat counter or the refrigerated section of a store. Foods that don’t need refrigeration, like canned or shelf-stable pâté and meat spreads, are safe to eat. Refrigerate these foods after opening them.
  • Don’t eat refrigerated smoked seafood unless it is in a cooked dish or unless it is canned or shelf-stable.

If you’re pregnant and have a fever or other symptoms of possible listeriosis — such as fatigue and muscle aches — within 2 months after eating a possibly contaminated food, you should seek medical care. Schedule a gynecologist near me appointment and tell your gynecologist near me about perhaps eating contaminated food. 

  1. Zika Virus

The Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy. A Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly, among other severe brain defects.

Zika primarily spreads through infected Aedes mosquitoes. You can also get Zika through intercourse without a condom with someone infected by Zika, even if that person doesn’t show symptoms of Zika.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends pregnant women not travel to areas with Zika Outbreaks and carefully consider risks of traveling to other areas. Currently, there is no accurate information on the current level of risk in specific areas. The massive outbreak in the Americas has ended, but Zika will continue to be a potential risk in many countries. During 2018 and 2019, no local spread of the Zika virus was reported in the continental United States. In 2020, the lastest fear is pregnancy during Covid-19. Luckily, the we answer your pregnancy during Covid questions.

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